After a comprehensive look at Virtus.Pro, let’s have a look at their arch-rivals, Team Secret: a team that has not missed a single TI since 2014, but has also never hit the top four.
The 2018/2019 season started well for Secret, with a victory at ESL One Hamburg 2018. At the next tournament, The Kuala Lumpur Major, the team took second place, losing only to Virtus.pro in the grand final. Then, at The Chongqing Major, they got their revenge and defeated VP in the final.
The best season in the history of Team Secret
This season, Team Secret won 77.8% of their matches. This is the highest among all participants of The International 2019. At the same time, Virtus.pro have imposed themselves as the most uncomfortable opponent for Secret – out of nine matches, only three ended with a victory for the Puppey roster. For the DPC season 2018/2019, Secret earned $1.44 million in prize money; this is almost 18% of the team’s winnings since its formation.
Over the past year, Secret has drafted 115 heroes out of the 117 total, having never chosen only Techies and Razor. This team’s players can play almost every hero to perfection. Perhaps most importantly, the captain does not forget about the strengths of his teammates: most often, he picked the signature Rubick for YapzOr, Monkey King for MidOne, and Morphling for Nisha. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Morphling is the most banned hero in matches against Secret.
Will Puppey win the second Aegis?
Many analysts consider Team Secret the favorite of The International 2019. Statistics also speak in favor of the team – by most indicators, this season has been the best in their entire history.
The team has gathered the best talent, led by one of the most respected and experienced captains in the world. But just one factor occasionally prevents the roster from winning on big occasions. They often come up with strange ideas during drafts on decisive maps. Instead of reliable and proven strategies, Puppey goes for unfamiliar picks, who are not considered meta, and loses. Nonetheless, if he manages to keep his cool, and his roster performs as brilliantly as they have during the season, then Ivanov has a good chance of becoming the first person to win The International twice.
Anything can happen
Considering how the team played during the season, it is practically required that they give their best result at the TI in history. Even if everything is not perfect during their drafts, only a few teams can prevent Secret from reaching the grand finals. In decisive matches, even with perfect drafts, it will depend on the execution of their strategy. On the professional stage, there are enough teams that are in good shape and will be looking to overthrow Team Secret. We believe the games will be decided on the smallest of mistakes.